Buy Aulonocara and Malawi at Vegas Valley Cichlids

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Types: Holotype (unique): a 157 mm Total Length (TL) specimen from Vua, Lake Malawi, stored at the National History Museum [London], with registration BMNH 1955.6.14.1012.

Diagnosis: The main diagnostic feature of this species is the white tip on the snout (especially on the lips) and the overall deep blue color. When visible, the melanin pattern shows the characteristic of Placidochromis, with only vertical barring. The overall color and arrangement of the melanin pattern in juveniles is similar to that of P. electra, with decreasingly thick bars on the flanks and a dark throat. 
The teeth are rather prominent on the outer row. The mouth is rather large (lower jaw 2.6 in head length, according to Eccles & Trewavas, 1989).

Size: In imported specimens, males are up to 12-15 cm TL, becoming much larger in aquarium with age, reaching at least 20 cm TL.

Sex dimorphism: Sexual dichromatism is absent in Placidochromis phenochilus, a rare feature among haplochromines, but males are larger than females, with more prominent mouths and longer fins. With age, old females may lose their blue dress and become whitish.

Type locality: Vua, Lake Malawi.

Distribution: According to Konings (2007), this species is found in the north-western part of Lake Malawi, at Mdoka, Chesese and Chirwa Island. Most specimens in the aquarium trade come from Mdoka.

Habitat: As other members of the P. electra species group, Placidochromis phenochilus is found over sandy habitats at moderately deep levels, usually more than 15 meters (Konings, 1991).

Localities: Mdoka Reef (Malawi, native), Vua (Malawi, type locality).

Feeding: Placidochromis phenochilus typically feeds as other blue followers, hovering over sand in search of edible particles and often taking advantage of those which are stirred up by the foraging activity of large members of genera Taeniolethrinops and Fossorochromis, whose stretched snout is deeply driven into the sandy or muddy substrate.

Breeding: Placidochromis phenochilus is a maternal mouth-brooder. There are no precise records in the wild, but in aquarium, males usually choose a sheltered spawning site and attract females displaying and quivering all around them, then leading them swimming towards the pit with undulating movements of the unpaired fins. Other fishes (conspecific or not) are chased away from the spawning territory during the spawning phase, which lasts for some hours, though the spawning itself takes less than an hour. During spawning, both partners turn around, dabbing alternately to the anal fin of the opposite sex, which stimulates the emission of eggs and sperm. The eggs are taken by the female into her mouth, where they are fertilized when she sucks the males' semen at regular intervals in the spawning process. Once spawning is over, the male looses interest in the spawning site.

In aquarium, the numerous eggs and young (several dozens) are incubated for three weeks (at about 25 °C) inside the female's mouth. Fry is then released within one week, depending on the safety perceived in the tank. The young show very early the typical color pattern of the species with an oblique band across the flank.

Aquaristics: With its deep blue nearly permanent dress, Placidochromis phenochilus has an immediate effect on every potential buyer in any cichlid shop, even outshining the extremely popular royal blue Sciaenochromis fryeri. Nevertheless, since it is not easy to catch and ship, Placidochromis phenochilus is a more expensive and more sensitive aquarium host, being probably the most fussy in the P. electra species group. Its lifespan is seemingly short, since 3-years old females stop breeding and lose their colorful dress, becoming whitish and skinny.

Apart from this, the general behavior is similar to that of other blue followers, namely very quarrelsome among each other but with very few damage done, since these species' bites are weak. Placidochromis phenochilusmay be kept with any Malawi haplochromine (and some peaceful mbuna). They usually stand being dominated without loosing their magnificent dress, provided that they have enough room to escape and to spawn in peace. The males' constant mouth contests tend to thicken their already fleshy lips, which may become monstrous and pinkish.

Regardless they are dominant or not, for maintaining a constant contesting mood between the males, a group of at least 5-6 individuals is preferable. That's why a minimum tank size of 500 l is to be chosen for them. In case of a mixed tank with a 'blue followers' host, such as Taeniolethrinops praeorbitalis or Fossorochromis rostratus, the tank must be at least 800-1000 l with large patches of sand and only a few stones, in order to allow the host to forage into the sand layer.

Since blue followers are rather sensitive to skin diseases, the water should be clean, well-filtered and oxygenated; with a pH around 7.8-8 and a water temperature around 25 °. Contrary to many Malawi fishes, P. phenochilus is not a big eater, and to maintain it in good health, it is preferable to give it small amounts of food in higher frequency. Frozen small shell fish (Artemia,Cyclops) together with dried foods constitute a good basis as a main diet.

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Q: I just completed my order, what's next?
A: Before shipment, we quarantine all fish for at least 24-48 hours. During this period, we closely monitor the fish to make sure they are healthy. We also do not feed them during this time in order to 'clean out' their digestive system and limit their ability to soil the water.  This helps reduce the amount of waste in the bag and will keep the water clean.

Q: When can I expect my order to be ship?
A: Please see Chart below

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Arrival Date: UPS Overnight

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Southwest: Depending on your location some cities have limited amount of flights per day. I will normally communicate this with you via email or text the arrival date and arrival time.

Note:  If the arrival date above don’t work for you please let me know on the note section upon check out on when you prefer to receive the package.

Q: Who delivers my order and how much?
A: UPS Next Day Air:
     For a low flat rate of $45 any where in the US with any size box.          

    Southwest:
    
For any order over $200 or order containing mostly large 4+ Males,
    we recommend Southwest Air Cargo for flat rate of $55.

   Delta Cargo:
  
This is available to all customers that does not have the option to use
   Southwest Air Cargo. Buyer will pay shipping at Delta Cargo Station upon pick
   up. (Usually around $75 - $80)

Q: Some or all of my fish arrived dead - what do I do?
A: We offer a Live Arrival Guarantee service for four hours after door delivery. In the event that a fish arrives dead in the shipping bag, you must take clear digital pictures of the fish in an unopened bag and email it to vegasvalleycichlids@gmail.com within four hours of receiving your package. Live Arrival Guarantee is voided after the bags have been opened.

VegasValleyCichlids.com will also refund (Not Store Credit) on any DOA'S that involve carrier mishandling, which includes delays (Less than 48 hours), damaged boxes or water temperature extremes. DOA's must be reported the day of arrival and be accompanied by an emailed photo to ensure refund.

    25% DOA
    We will refund 25% of shipping and the price of the DOA fish. 

   50% DOA
  
We will refund 50% of shipping the and price of the DOA fish.

   75% DOA
   We will refund 100% of shipping and 100% of all the fish.
   You keep the fishes that made it for FREE.

 

Placidochromis phenochilus "Mdoka" White Lips

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